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The relevance of technology to the nature, prevalence and impact of Adolescent Dating Violence and Abuse: A research synthesisWhile an established literature has documented the nature and prevalence of traditional forms of Adolescent Dating Violence and Abuse (ADVA), less research has investigated the relevance of Electronic Communication Technology (ECT) such as mobile phones and communication tools via the Internet to ADVA and to psychological/ emotional abuse and monitoring or controlling behaviors in particular. This paper reviews the literature on the nature, prevalence and impact of ADVA andwhatwill be termed Technology Assisted Adolescent Dating Violence and Abuse (TAADVA). The review revealed a broad range of prevalence estimates for physical, psychological/ emotional, and sexual dating violence in addition to abuse experienced or performed via ECT. Inconsistencies in prevalence reports are likely to be due to the various measures and methods used to investigate this phenomenon, however; this leads to difficulties when attempting to make accurate comparisons and generalizations. Limited research was found to have explored the impact of TAADVA compared to that of traditional ADVA. Nevertheless, ADVA and TAADVA were prevalent in a substantial number of adolescent romantic relationships in these studies. It is suggested that ECT provides a new avenue for ADVA rather than representing a new, unique form of abuse. Further research is needed to explore the nature, prevalence, and impact of ECT use for both abusive and non-abusive purposes within adolescent dating relationships, in addition to whether this creates new victims or perpetrators of such abuse. Implications of the findings of the review are discussed.
“They’ll Always Find a Way to Get to You”: Technology Use in Adolescent Romantic Relationships and Its Role in Dating Violence and AbuseElectronic communication technology (ECT), such as mobile phones and online communication tools, is widely used by adolescents; however, the availability of such tools may have both positive and negative impacts within the context of romantic relationships. While an established literature has documented the nature, prevalence, and impact of traditional forms of adolescent dating violence and abuse (ADVA), limited empirical investigation has focused on the role of ECT in ADVA or what shall be termed technology-assisted adolescent dating violence and abuse (TAADVA) and how adolescents perceive the impact of TAADVA relative to ADVA. In this article, the authors explore the role ECT plays in adolescent romantic relationships and psychologically abusive and controlling ADVA behaviors and its perceived impact. An opportunity sample of 52 adolescents (22 males and 30 females) between the ages of 12 and 18 years participated in the study. One all-female and seven mixed-gendered semi-structured focus groups were conducted. Thematic analysis was used to identify three superordinate themes, including (a) perceived healthy versus unhealthy communication, (b) perceived monitoring and controlling communication, and (c) perceived impact of technology-assisted abuse compared with that in person. While ECTs had a positive impact on the development and maintenance of adolescent romantic relationships, such tools also provided a new avenue for unhealthy, harassment, monitoring, and controlling behaviors within these relationships. ECT was also perceived to provide unique impacts in terms of making TAADVA seem both less harmful and more harmful than ADVA experienced in person. Adolescents’ perceptions and experiences of ECT in romantic relationships and TAADVA may also vary be gender. Implications of the findings are discussed, and recommendations are made for future research.